12 Books to Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

From elementary books to young adult titles—across various genres and formats—these 12 recent releases elevate voices and showcase the multifaceted experiences within the trans and nonbinary community.


Each year on March 31, we honor International Trans Day of Visibility and celebrate the remarkable lives and contributions of transgender and nonbinary individuals while also raising awareness and combating discrimination and disinformation. From elementary books to young adult titles, and across various genres and formats, these 12 recent releases elevate voices and showcase the multifaceted experiences within the trans and nonbinary community.

Infinity Alchemist by Kacen Callender. Tor Teen/Forge. ISBN 9781250890252.
Gr 10 Up–In Ash Woods’s world, the practice of alchemy is divisive. Privileged few are allowed to study it and enter the Houses dedicated to its use. Ash, who is transgender, applied to and was rejected by an alchemic college and instead takes a job as a groundskeeper there to teach himself, illegally, after hours. When he is discovered by apprentice Ramsay Thorne, who is genderfluid, the two strike a deal: Ash will help Thorne find the powerful Book of Source, and Thorne will teach Ash alchemy. But their plan is dangerous—others want the book and will do whatever it takes to get it. VERDICT Readers will find a space where anyone can be powerful and be loved in this intriguing fantasy novel.

Transmorgify!: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic ed. by g. haron davis. HarperTeen. ISBN 9780063218796.
Gr 9 Up–This anthology was created with the intention of giving trans identities more visibility in fantasy for teens, davis explains in their foreword. With the focus of representing identities that have been missing, this book contains 14 stories by authors who wrote their hearts out in fun, meaningful, and fantastical ways, guided by the hands of davis, who is no stranger to anthologies for teens. Recognizable authors, such as Cam Montgomery, anchor a collection that also features newcomers, such as Dove Salvatierra, whose first published work is their short story here called “Espejismos.” The characters are richly entertaining, such as Ari in Reneé Reynolds’s “Verity,” who attends a magical school and loves the library. VERDICT The cover includes the quote that “magic is for everyone” and this short story collection lives up to it with trans characters at the forefront.

Hispanic Star: Sylvia Rivera by Claudia Romo Edelman & J. Gia Loving. illus. by Cheyne Gallarde. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781250828163.
Gr 3-6–This entry of the “Hispanic Star” series covers Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman who fought for trans rights. The novel is linear in its telling with sidebar pages that inform readers of the evolutions of trans-related terminology over the years. The book addresses several historical events that Rivera participated in or was affected by, such as the Lavender Scare, which was the persecution of homosexual people during McCarthyism, and the social revolution of the 1960s. However, trans and queer people were rarely invited under the umbrella of these fights for human and basic rights. Gay liberation and Rivera’s instrumental involvement in the Stonewall uprising are covered as well, especially for her advocacy for trans people. VERDICT Purchase this foremost to round out collections with a much-needed historical exploration of trans rights.

 Constellations by Kate Glasheen. illus. by Kate Glasheen. Holiday House. ISBN 9780823450718.
Gr 10 Up–Trans author Glasheen draws from personal experience to create the story of Claire, a teen struggling with their identity in 1980s New York. Claire is constantly asked whether they are a girl or boy. The frequent questions and hostility in their life leads them to cope by misusing alcohol, which becomes so severe that they are sent to inpatient treatment for substance abuse. While in treatment, Claire meets a variety of teens struggling with their own addictions and begins to gain a better understanding of their identity and possible romantic interests. Claire’s narration is featured in watercolor illustrations, enhanced with surreal notebook drawings that both mirror their journaling and provide additional insight into their thoughts. VERDICT A tale of gender identity and recovery that will resonate with readers and leave them thinking long after the final page. A first purchase for all young adult library collections.

 Ryan and Avery by David Levithan. Knopf. ISBN 9780399553097.
Gr 7 Up–Levithan’s latest revisits Ryan and Avery, characters from Two Boys Kissing, as they go on their first 10 dates. The story is told out of chronological order, and readers experience the excitement and nerves as they begin their relationship. Avery, a trans boy, comes from a supportive family who embraces Ryan as his boyfriend. Ryan’s parents are strict and distant, so he relies on his aunt and friends for support of his budding relationship. As in most relationships, some dates go better than others. A magical snow day gives the pair an opportunity to connect as if the world around them doesn’t exist, while a trip to an abandoned mini golf course leads to a run-in with bigoted classmates. Levithan’s descriptions of Ryan's and Avery’s thoughts and moods and the magic that surrounds first love heighten the narrative. VERDICT A swoon-worthy LGBTQIA+ romance with a lot of heart, and a first purchase for all library collections.

No One Left But You by Tash McAdam. Soho Teen. ISBN 9781641294898.
Gr 9 Up–Told in alternating “before” and “after” chapters, this gripping murder mystery follows Max, a transgender teenage boy, as he’s sucked into the vortex of a toxic, immediately codependent new friendship with Gloss, a new girl in town. Gloss is a spoiled teenage girl with absent rich parents, an expensive, fully-staffed home all to herself, and way too much freedom. But she has a magnetism about her that’s almost cult leader-esque. She takes Max under her wing immediately and begins to fulfill his deepest, long unmet needs: for belonging, physical touch and affection, and emotional support. Then, she kills his ex-boyfriend and confesses. Or did she? McAdam’s prose is masterly with perfect, striking phrases for feelings rarely adequately described. It feels euphoric reading such an authentic and natural portrayal of the lived experience of a trans teen. VERDICT Max’s captivating journey is one that teen patrons shouldn’t miss. Highly recommended.

Door by Door: How Sarah McBride Became America's First Openly Transgender Senator by Meeg Pincus. illus. by Meridth McKean Gimbel. ISBN 9780593484654.
Gr 2-5–This heartwarming biography begins with McBride’s childhood and goes through her win as state senator. The book’s framework is to pivot during key moments of her life between her two truths, which Pincus makes clear from the first page: McBride’s love of politics and her realization that she, assigned male at birth, was a girl. With roughly 30 words per page, the story is an easy read-aloud for classes and Gimbel’s illustrations show her pathway into politics and inner struggle to come out as transgender. The book has a short author’s note, a brief note from McBride, a glossary of political terms, an explanation of how to be an ally to transgender people, and a bibliography. VERDICT This is a recommended purchase for libraries.

The Borrow a Boyfriend Club by Page Powars. Delacorte. ISBN 9780593568583.
Gr 9 Up–Transfer student Noah Byrd is determined to join the most masculine club he can find, hoping the fresh start will enable him to avoid the transphobic microaggressions he suffered at his old high school. He stumbles upon the “Football and Lamborghini Club,” only to discover that it’s actually an elaborate front for the school’s best kept secret: the “Borrow a Boyfriend Club.” While he’s skeptical of a club that rents out its members as fake dates, Noah realizes this could actually be the perfect backdrop for his new beginning. But joining the club isn’t easy: its hard-headed leader, Asher, has implemented a series of impossible-seeming tasks to complete before one can be inducted, including attempting to romance Asher himself, which causes Noah to catch feelings for the person he thought he hated most! Raunchy and lighthearted, this book avoids the cliché of a trans student being outed; instead, Powers lets Noah believably grapple with his own internalized transphobia, and his family’s acceptance. Ultimately themes of trans joy, trust, and authenticity are at the heart of this funny and buoyant enemies-to-lovers rom-com. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries serving teens; this is one boyfriend they’ll want to borrow again and again.

Always the Almost by Edward Underhill. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250835208.
Gr 8 Up–A coming-of-age story of lost love, new love, self-love, and pianos. Sixteen-year-old Miles has recently transitioned to his true boy gender. His mom and best friends welcomed him with open arms to the LGBTQIA+ world, but his ex-boyfriend Shane hasn’t, nor has his dad. Miles is in the early stages of figuring out life as a man, but he’s sure of one thing: he’s gay and still in love with Shane. Miles always feels like an almost: almost good enough, almost man enough, almost winner at the Tri-State Piano Competition. When new West Coast boy Eric arrives in their small Wisconsin town, Miles starts to see things differently, and now he’s going for number one: date Eric, forget about Shane, and beat his piano archnemesis Cameron. But will he be able to get himself out of second place? This story portrays the early stages of transition, and it’s refreshing to see a character go through so much unknown while surrounded by support. VERDICT A beautiful story of love, identity, discovery, and redemption. Recommended for all high school libraries, especially for those serving readers looking for authentic trans voices.

 Brighter Than the Moon by David Valdes. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781547607167.
Gr 7 Up–Jonas and Shani, both 17, meet online and their relationship quickly progresses to epic texting sessions and video chats. Shani exudes confidence, which makes the shy Jonas hesitant to ask her out. He’s also shy about other secrets—secrets that Shani begins to sense exist but can’t figure out. She enlists her bold best friend, Ash, a trans boy, to try and uncover Jonas’s secrets by hiring him to do an art project. While undercover, Ash becomes smitten with Jonas, but keeps his strong feelings from Shani. Valdes goes beyond the “love triangle with a queer spin” trope, and turns his story into something entirely new and reflective of life today, building its characters and plot carefully, even quietly at times, but always with compassion and intensity. The book shines through the three main characters, each with distinct questions, conflicts, and desires, who tell the story in alternating segments and open new possibilities for teen romances and coming-of-age stories. VERDICT For anyone who has ever questioned their identity, their story, or just themselves. Highly recommended for any teen library collection.

The Queer Girl Is Going to Be Okay by Dale Walls. Levine Querido. ISBN 9781646142705.
Gr 8 Up–Life in Houston isn’t all roses for queer seniors Georgia, Edie, and Dawn—but at least they have one another. Georgia wants to be a writer but feels like she is the only one who hasn’t been accepted into college yet. Edie keeps her nonbinary beau a secret from her Southern Baptist family. Dawn channels her woes of dating as a trans girl into a documentary project about queer love that makes it into a student film festival. With everything going on, can the girls savor their last year together before graduation? Walls’s debut is an insightful look at queer love in its many forms, and while romantic love certainly gets its air time, the exploration of platonic queer love especially shines.VERDICT A winning combination of film, friendship, and queer possibility. Highly recommended.

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White. Peachtree Teen. ISBN 9781682636114.
Gr 10 Up–In 1883 London, England, trans teen Silas realizes early in life he was born in the wrong body. Since The Veil between the living and the dead has thinned throughout the world, the Royal Speaker Society has emerged as a powerful group that recruits and trains mediums to deal with hauntings. When Silas dresses as a man in an attempt to run away and join the Speakers, he is discovered and sent to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanatorium. As Silas resists the Headmaster’s efforts to “correct” him, he begins to uncover the mysterious past disappearances of several Braxton students. His potential suitor and co-conspirator, Edward “Daphne” Luckenbill–a kindred spirit in more ways than one–agrees to help Silas get to the bottom of things. This novel provides a valuable lens into the historical perspective of trans identity. Readers will root for Silas, who only wants to do right by the other individuals held prisoner at Braxton. VERDICT A gripping and entertaining tale that will keep readers guessing until the very end, and a recommended purchase for YA fiction collections.

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